The Big Issues
- The discussion surrounding annexation waivers has been dominant this session. We have been successful in making our case against many bills and the discussion is now centered predominantly on two bills.
- SB 261 contains provisions that retroactively voids all annexation waivers passed before 2003, regardless of when they were recorded. The bill gives municipalities until December 31, 2018 to record any waivers executed after June 30, 2003 and before July 1, 2018 but also imposes the 15-year expiration date on those. Further, it requires municipalities to record new waivers within 30 days of execution.
- HB 1104 is a miscellaneous property tax bill that was amended in the House, and then amended again in the Senate. Currently, HB 1104 contains identical annexation language as contained in SB 261. While we do not support SB 261, we prefer to center the discussion on SB 261 rather than a bill that has many unrelated provisions.
ORDER TO REPAIR
- SB 296, the Aim order to repair bill will be heard in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday, February 27.
- Buyers of tax sale properties are not always aware prior to purchase that they may be required to immediately make certain repairs or be held to account by local authorities. SB 296 allows a tax sale purchaser of a vacant/abandoned home to have notice prior to purchase that necessary repairs will be required to the property.
- Rep. Sharon Negele is the House sponsor of SB 296, which was originated by Sen. Jeff Raatz in the Senate.
RSD AND INDOT CONSULTATION
- SB 269 contains an Aim initiative to require notification to affected units when a Regional Sewer District (RSD) plans to expand its territory. This communication will allow municipalities to engage in better planning of their own sewer service territories.
- The bill also includes language that would require INDOT to consult with the local unit before doing work on a state highway or bridge that would cause a detour. Increased collaboration will allow local units to offer input on traffic, maintenance, safety, and other concerns.
- SB 10 – conflict of interest, and HB 1096 – restriction on local stormwater regulation, were halted at the committee level. Preemption language in HB 1245 – local permitting, was removed before the bill advanced. We will keep a sharp eye out for any language from these bills during the conference committee process.
WATER TASK FORCE
- HB 1267 is a bill that creates a statewide water task force. Among the charges of the task force would be to study drinking water systems and wastewater management systems, and develop a long term plan for addressing drinking water and wastewater needs in Indiana.
- Much like the FIRSST Task Force that aggressively tackled road funding, this group would be key to tackling Indiana’s desperate underground infrastructure needs. Aim applauds the state for gearing up to take on additional weighty and critical issues, such as those targeted in this bill.
- For the task force to be have maximum effectiveness, significant municipal participation must be included. Aim is working with lawmakers to ensure any new task force with a mission such as what is outlined in HB 1267, must include municipal officials.
LOCAL DECISION MAKING
- There were many bills proposed this legislative session that endeavor to take away municipal authority.
- Aim is happy to report that we have been working with lawmakers to help address concerns and eliminate as much preemption legislation as possible. As of this time, several bills of concern are no longer advancing through the legislative process.
- SB 10 – conflict of interest, and HB 1096 – restriction on local stormwater regulation, were halted at the committee level. Preemption language in HB 1245 – local permitting, was removed before the bill advanced. We will keep a sharp eye out for any language in these bills to advance during the conference committee process.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Annexation waivers continue to be at the forefront of the issues we’re following. I think what you want to look for in the next couple weeks hopefully is some movement back in our direction in terms of how annexation waivers are deliberated and discussed — and the 15-year cap both going forward and retrospectively — look for some positive movement we hope in the next week or so and then it will all be hashed out in the conference committee process for sure.”
– Matt Greller, CEO of Aim
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